Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ok, this is almost against my food religion. I know, I're thinking "How could you ruin a classic by trying to make it 'healthy'?" But I'm not, I promise. And, how dare I fiddle with such an iconic recipe as the "Chocolate Chip Cookie" (*cue choir*). But, that's not my intent, I swear.

These cookies are the definition of perfect Chocolate Chunk Cookies - they're insanely crispy on the outside and utterly moist and chewy in the middle. The use of whole wheat flour in this recipe boosts up the protein and fiber content of the dough. Since protein and fiber both bind water, they actually help to keep these cookies extra chewy by adding body and texture.

Whole wheat flour differs from regular refined all-purpose flour in that it contains all of the components of the wheat's grain, including wheat germ, endosperm and especially the bran.When working with this type of flour, it is important to make sure that it is fresh. Please don't attempt this recipe if the only whole wheat flour you have on hand is going on 5-years-old and buried in the back of your pantry along side carob and skim milk powder. It has a shorter shelf life than white flour due to the higher oil content contained in the germ, and these oils can become rancid over time due to exposure to oxygen and especially high temperatures.

If you are dedicated enough to use fresh whole wheat flour to make these Chocolate Chunk Whole Wheat Cookies, then the bran lends a gentle nutty flavour which complements the addition of chopped almonds, if you choose to add them. If you are bold enough, this recipe also works well with 100% whole wheat flour for extra nuttiness. Usually when I make Chocolate Chip Cookies, I use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar for enhanced chew factor, but these cookies need the extra sweetness that white sugar brings to the table. Also, the higher fiber content of whole wheat means that this dough sucks up moisture, which is why the tablespoon of milk is necessary. Do I really have to explain the use of every single ingredient? Well, yeah, because that's what I do.

With many recipes I recommend allowing the finished product to cool to room temperature before digging in, mainly for tarts, cakes and brownies. But not these bad boys. Once they are done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool only for a few minutes for the best experience. They will cool just enough to form a wonderfully crisp shell and still be soft and gooey in the middle.
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